Choosing Flooring for a Foyer, Hallways, and Stairs

Choosing Flooring for a Foyer, Hallways, and Stairs

Steady traffic makes flooring in hallways, entryways, and stairs more susceptible to stains and wear. So for these areas, you’ll want to choose sturdier flooring that’s designed for heavy use, especially if flooring is adjacent to outside entry doors. For main entry halls or foyers, you’ll likely also want flooring that makes a more dramatic impact, since this area is often the first impression guests will have of your home.

Here are a few flooring options to consider for these high-traffic areas.

Carpet

For high-traffic foyers, hallways, and stairs, a low-profile, densely packed carpet can add more life expectancy. Nylon is a great option here due to its resilience. Consider pulled-down nylon textures or level-loop constructions. Also be sure to select a high-quality carpet cushion. This may cost a bit more, but it can be well worth it when you consider the added wear life for your carpet.

In terms of slip resistance, carpeting on stairs is a much safer option than hard surfaces like hardwood – which is probably why the stairs are the most common place in the home to install carpet. But stairs can also present unique carpet installation challenges.

Pile direction – The direction of the carpet’s pile should run from the top of the stairs to the bottom (not sideways). This ensures better wear and also prevents noticeable gaps between fibers where the carpet bends over each step.

Open stairways – For stairways that are open on one or both sides, carpet needs to wrap around the outside edge of the staircase. This creates the possibility for a portion of the backing to show, which is a special concern with berber. Here, a higher-grade berber works much better than a lower-grade.

Seams – Seams are also a concern, particularly where the carpet joins around posts. A longer pile such as a frieze or a saxony, tends to hide seams better than short or looped pile carpet.

Carpet Runners

For stairways with adjacent entryways, the same flooring for both areas can provide one cohesive look. If you are considering a hard surface such as hardwood for an entryway and want to include the same surface on the stairs, a great option is to add a secured carpet runner. Runners not only provide slip-resistance, but they also offer another way to add some personality to your entry space.

Hardwoods

Hardwood flooring for entrywaysHardwood is a great way to add one cohesive look to entryways with adjacent stairs and hallways. The key here is durability. Harder woods such as Oak, Hickory, Maple, Birch, and Ash are all good choices. To hide potential dents and scratches, consider more textured formats such as wire-brushed or hand-scraped woods. If you are concerned about the appearance of dust or pet hair, you’ll likely want to stick with lighter stain colors and a low-gloss finish. For added durability, choose pre-finished woods with a protective polyurethane coating. Hardwood floors with the most durable finishes will cost more but will also hold up much better over time.

Another decision you’ll need to make is whether to go with a solid or engineered hardwood. While both are made from 100% wood, of the two, solid wood is more susceptible to damage from excessive moisture and humidity. Engineered woods are constructed in way that allows planks to grow and contract when exposed to changes in moisture and humidity levels. So for entryways that lead to the outdoors, a more practical choice may be a factory-finished engineered wood, which will be better withstand tracked-in moisture. However, all wood flooring is susceptible to water damage, so you'll want to use absorbent mats in areas where moisture is common. Mats with rubber backings are not recommended, as rubber prevents the floor from breathing. Harwood can also fade over time when exposed to direct sunlight. If your entryway gets a lot of natural light, also consider adding area rugs to protect floors from fading.

Laminate

Laminate flooring for stairwaysWant the look of real hardwood, but not the cost? Or maybe you are looking for easier maintenance? Laminate flooring can be a great choice for high-traffic entryways and halls. New technologies are producing laminates with more realistic looks and textures than ever before. But the bigger advantage of laminate flooring is its finishes, which are extremely resistant to fading, scratching, and scuffing. Laminate installations are often easier too, as these floors can float over a variety of subfloors, and many products include snap-and-lock technology that’s perfect for DIYers.

Laminate is also less slippery than other natural materials, which can be a big advantage for entryways. Like hardwoods, laminate can be susceptible to moisture, although with higher-grade laminate flooring, edges are sealed for added moisture protection.

For stairs, laminate can be a bit tricky. Click-and-lock flooring planks and thin laminates may not work in stairways, as they are hard to cut and fit around existing posts or railings. Additionally, the depth of most stair treads (the part you actually put your foot on) is typically wider than most laminate-flooring planks. Here, installations may require piecing two planks together to cover the entire tread surface. To avoid this issue, many manufacturers offer a one-piece laminate stair-tread option.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

For busy foyers and halls, many consumers are realizing the advantages of luxury vinyl tile (LVT). LVT incorporates the latest imaging technologies to effectively replicate both the look and textures of high-end flooring such as ceramic tile, limestone, marble, slate, and hardwood. In addition to its amazingly realistic looks, what makes LVT so popular is its specialized wear layer, which protects these floors from the scratches, scuffs, indentations, and stains that can damage other flooring materials. LVT is also easy to maintain, warmer underfoot – and often less expensive than many natural flooring materials. LVT is typically thinner than hardwood planks, stone, or ceramic tiles, so it can be installed over most existing flooring. And tile surfaces are water resistant, so LVT won’t swell or buckle from tracked-in moisture.

But what may be the biggest surprise is the amount of design options available with LVT. For a more authentic appearance, ceramic tile looks can include grout, which won’t discolor or stain like real grout can. Tiles can also be installed without grout for a modern, sleek look. Wood looks come in varying plank widths and lengths and include embossed textures and graining for even more realism. There are even custom trims to add more design personality to these floors.

While not common, LVT can be successfully installed on stairs. But here a professional installation is recommended. Also verify that the manufacturer’s warranty covers stair installations. Not all do.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile for hallwaysIf you prefer the real thing, ceramic tile can stand up well to high traffic foyers and halls. Today’s ceramic titles include a large selection of colors, sizes, shapes, and decorative borders – perfect for creating a unique foyer design. Tiles are relatively easy to clean – although, grout may need periodic sealing and special cleaning to maintain its original color. In terms of installation, if your house is older, it's probably a good idea to replace your subfloor before installing tiles. Tiles can also feel colder and harder underfoot than other flooring options, and they tend to be slippery. So it’s a good idea to place absorbent mats or secure rugs near entry doors and in other areas where the floor is more likely to get wet.

Natural Stone

For a truly dramatic entryway, nothing quite replicates the unique sophistication of natural stones, such as slate, travertine, limestone, marble, and granite. Much like natural woods, no two pieces of stone have exactly the same color, pattern, or texture. Tiles are available in varying sizes and neutral tones that coordinate well with most any décor. Luxurious stones like limestone or travertine can add an Old World feel to entryways. Sealed granite also retains its shine well and will repel water. For heavy traffic areas, softer stones, such as travertine, may not be the best option, as it can be more prone to chipping and denting.

Other things to keep in mind: Real stone can be expensive, and installation by a professional is typically recommended. Porous stone must be sealed upon installation and resealed at regular intervals – generally every two years. And, of course, real stone can be colder and more slippery compared to other hard flooring surfaces.

Learn More

For expert advice on flooring for your entryway, halls, or stairs, contact your local flooring store.

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Overall Rating: 4.7 stars - 10 reviews

By:
Date: November 7, 2016
Page Rating: (4.5/5)
Comments:
Very helpful as Im thinking about what flooring to do in my entryway.
By:
Date: November 7, 2016
Page Rating: (4.5/5)
Comments:
Very helpful as Im thinking about what flooring to do in my entryway.
By:
Date: August 22, 2016
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
Very informative for a novice like me. Thank you. Moving onto your next pages!
By:
Date: August 7, 2016
Page Rating: (4.5/5)
Comments:
Thanks for giving lots of helpful information to make informed decisions
By:
Date: April 10, 2016
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
very informative & good advice.
By:
Date: November 30, 2015
Page Rating: (4.5/5)
Comments:
Even once you narrow down to a flooring type, choosing the actual flooring can still be a huge challenge. Don’t forget to think about the indirect factors. Is ease of maintaining when it comes to your floors important to you? Does a member of your family need allergen control? What is the overall style of your house? Not everything will be versatile in a design-friendly sense. Who or what will be using the floor most—will it be full of heavy equipment, little humans, or a workspace? How easy will basic and deep cleaning be for the residents of the house? Age/physical condition often has a huge effect on this. While these factors may seem obvious, sometimes it is easy to overlook them. If you can, go look at floors in person-not just in pictures. Make sure you consider the lighting type in your home, and how that will affect the coloring and appearance. Paint colors, textures, etc. are also important to consider. Some of these factors are relatively easy to change, but may also be
By:
Date: October 12, 2015
Page Rating: (4.0/5)
Comments:
INFORMATIVE
By:
Date: July 10, 2015
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
I am completely new to the subject and your page gave me the information to move in a direction. Thanks so much.
By:
Date: May 7, 2015
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
Thanks for your ideas.
By:
Date: February 10, 2015
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
Helpfull

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